Buckeyes Coast By Groggy IU

By Colin Barringer, January 31st, 2018

On Tuesday night, the No. 17 Ohio State Buckeyes showed their maturity in rebounding from their first Big Ten loss of the season, that defeat coming last week at the hands of Penn State.

In a thorough 71-56 victory, the Buckeyes knocked off the dwindling Indiana Hoosiers (12-11, 5-6 in the Big Ten) for a much-needed win to stay in the hunt for first place in the conference standings. The performance by Ohio State (19-5, 10-1) was a tale of two halves, but the score does not indicate it as the Hoosiers played abysmal following their emotional loss to Purdue on Sunday.

For the Buckeyes, this game was about a completely balanced attack.

The first half was all about the Buckeyes. Heading into the break, they were shooting 63 percent from the field and had 22 points in the paint.

Most of this can be credited to the effort to getting center Kaleb Wesson quality looks early. Wesson ended up with 13 points and five rebounds, and he finished 7 of 7 shooting from the field.

There was an extra focus on getting him the ball within 5 feet of the hoop to allow him to take advantage of the Hoosiers’ undersized forwards.

“I thought Kaleb was really good tonight,” IU coach Archie Miller said. “We simply couldn’t handle him down low.”

The second half had a messy feel to it as the Buckeyes fell to 56 percent shooting and were sloppy with ball handling. Guard C.J. Jackson and forward Jae’Sean Tate led the effort for this half using the pick-and-roll and efficient driving to the basket. Tate finished with 16 points, while Jackson added 10 of his own.

The big positive from this half was the awakening of forward Keita Bates-Diop on the offensive end. He started to find his shot, and the key was to avoid forcing up shots in wrong situations. He eventually ended with 13 points and 13 rebounds to register his ninth double-double of the season.

“He really impacts the game in a lot of ways,” OSU head coach Chris Holtmann said. “People continue to be really physical with him and he’s struggled with that at times. He’s just got to handle it better, but, he still had a major impact on the game with his ability. He had five assists, four blocks and 13 rebounds, and that’s what good players do. They find other ways to impact the game.”

The only starter not in double digits was guard Kam Williams, who finished with nine. Holtmann also got six points off the bench from forward Micah Potter.

As for the Hoosiers, they were a team that came out flat after suffering a deflating loss over the weekend. The only bright spots were forward Juwan Morgan and guard Devonte Green.

Morgan tallied 15 points, while Green scored a career-high 20 for the outmatched Hoosiers. A disappointing first year for Miller only looks to get tougher as they will host No. 5 Michigan State on Saturday.

This game also cemented historical achievements for Tate, as his 16 points and six rebounds helped him to eclipse 1,400 career points and 700 rebounds as a Buckeye. Those two statistics define what type of player Tate has been throughout his entire career.

The Buckeyes look to finish this home stretch 3-1 as they welcome in struggling Illinois on Sunday (noon Eastern, Fox Sports 1). It should be appointment viewing for Buckeye fans as a way to warm up before Super Bowl LII.